News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, December 11, 2014
‘Unidentified system leak’ forces mandatory water conservation

by Anne Berleant

A leak of unknown origin is spilling 20,000 to 25,000 gallons a day out of the town’s water supply, forcing the Board of Selectmen to enact mandatory water conservation measures.

“We ask all Castine Water Department customers to limit daily consumption in bathing, dish washing, laundry and general usage,” states the notice.

Selectmen met with the town utility board and, following its recommendation, put the mandatory measure into immediate effect.

“They’re still looking to find the source [of the leak],” said Town Manager Jimmy Goodson shortly before the board met.

The water department normally pumps 75,000 gallons a day for use in town at this time of year. Of that amount, Maine Maritime Academy uses about half, said Goodson, so when the academy shuts down on December 19 for semester break, consumption will drop. The academy accounts for several of the town’s 380 meters, Goodson added, and pays for all water it uses.

The water leak has raised the daily consumption to 100,000 gallons. Town water shortfalls are covered by water stored in the town’s reservoir, which holds 600,000 gallons. Of that amount, 250,000 gallons must be maintained in reserve for fire fighting.

If the reservoir falls below 250,000 gallons, water will have to be trucked to Castine. The reservoir can cover the leak for 14 days at the current rate of consumption.

The minimum penalty for violating the notice is $100 and the maximum is $2,500 per day of violation, based on Title 30-A M.R.S.A.§ 4452(3).

In addition, selectmen ask that customers “conserve water wherever possible until the leak is resolved.”